Tag California

Preserving Modern Architecture: The Kaufmann House and Beyond


An undisputed masterpiece of residential architecture.

An undisputed masterpiece of residential architecture.

This past Sunday I traveled to Palm Springs with Monmark Agency founder Mona Telega. We made the trek to attend a Modernism Week panel session on the Kaufmann House, Richard Neutra’s residential masterpiece from 1947. Instead of just focusing on this single building, the panel covered some of the many challenges of historic preservation for Modern buildings.

Extreme Clarity


The wind will not stop. Gusts of sand swirl before me, stinging my face. But there is still too much to see and marvel, the world very much alive in the bright light and wind, exultant with the fever of spring, the delight of morning. Strolling on, it seems to me that the strangeness and wonder of existence are emphasized here, in the desert, by the comparative sparsity of the flora and fauna: life not crowded upon life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity, with a generous gift of space for each her and bush and tree, each stem of grass, so that the living organism stands out bold and brave and vivid against the lifeless sand barren rock. The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life forms. Lover flowers best in openness and freedom.

Edward Abbey – Desert Solitaire

See more photos from my trip into the Mojave Desert here –

This post’s petite url is: http://m-o.mobi/unnjp

Schindler House

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Rudloph Schindler designed and built this house between 1921 and 1922. Now it is surrounded by houses and apartment buildings, but at the time of its genesis it was out in the wilderness. The house is often called the first Modern house. Without getting into a scholarly debate about when the pre-Modern experiments became fully Modern, I list the house among a chronology of other important buildings that came before and after. In the canon of early Modern homes it does seem to be at the forefront.

Robie House – Frank Lloyd Wright
1908 – 1910

Hollyhock House – Frank Lloyd Wright
1919 – 1921

Schindler House – Rudolph Schindler
1921 – 1922

Villa La Roche – Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeaneret
1923 – 1925

Schröder House – Gerrit Rietveld

Lovell Health House – Richard Neutra
1927 – 1929

Viipuri Library – Alvar Aalto
1927 – 1935

Villa Tugendhat – Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

Villa Savoye – Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeaneret
1928 – 1931

Paimio Sanatorium – Alvar Aalto
1928 – 1932

The home was designed for two families, the Schindler’s and the Chace’s. The pinwheel plan separate living and working spaces with a communal kitchen at the center. Inspired by a campsite at Yomesite, the home also featured outdoor sleeping areas on the roof. It was built for a cost of $12,500.00. Today that cost would be close to $161,00. Good luck finding a duplex at that price in West Hollywood!